FAQs last updated 3pm 1 February 2020
We are rapidly acquiring more information about this virus as it comes to light, and are working closely with our health counterparts in other jurisdictions and globally to ensure the most accurate information is available as quickly as possible.
What is a novel coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
However novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.
What are the symptoms of novel coronavirus?
It depends on the virus, but common signs include fever, respiratory-illness symptoms such as a cough, fatigue, and breathing difficulties.
What can I do to protect myself?
To protect yourself and others from infection practice good hand and respiratory hygiene including:
- Cleaning hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs
- Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing
- Avoiding contact with anyone who has respiratory symptoms.
You should also try and stay one metre away from people coughing or sneezing.
How could I become infected with novel coronavirus?
Novel coronavirus is transmitted from person to person, usually when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
If you begin to exhibit any symptoms such as, fever, respiratory-illness symptoms such as a cough, fatigue, and breathing difficulties. then you should contact your GP or call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).
What do I do if someone is coughing or sneezing near me?
We're advising people to stay one metre away from people coughing or sneezing.
Should I be wearing a face mask?
Based on current advice, only people who have returned from mainland China are unwell and have access to a face-mask should use it.
For anyone else who has does not have symptoms, a face-mask is not necessary.
When should I isolate myself or my family?
- Anyone who has had more than 15 minutes face-to-face contact or more than two hours contact in an enclosed space with a confirmed case of coronavirus case must self-isolate for 14 days following exposure.
- Anyone who has visited mainland China needs to self-isolate for 14 days after leaving mainland China.
- Childcare, school and TAFE students, teachers or workers who have visited China, including Hong Kong, should not attend school, childcare or TAFE for 14 days after leaving China, including Hong Kong. This includes anyone who works or attends these facilities.
Self-isolation means staying at home and not accepting visitors.
Should any public events or mass gatherings be cancelled?
There is no need to cancel any events or gatherings or take additional precautions to normal practice. People who are unwell should not attend public events.
What should I do if I think I have novel coronavirus?
- are showing symptoms of respiratory illness and have recently returned from mainland China, or
- have been in contact with someone who has had coronavirus or symptoms and has recently returned from mainland China,
you should contact your GP immediately or call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).
Before your GP appointment, please call the GP and advise them of your symptoms so they can take the necessary precautions.
Who should be tested for novel coronavirus?
At this stage, you can only be tested when you are showing symptoms of the virus.
Anyone who is showing symptoms and,
- has been to mainland China within the last 14 days, or
- has been in contact with someone who has been to mainland China within the last 14 days, or
- has been in contact with someone who has coronavirus
Anyone who is concerned should immediately contact their GP or call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).
When can I get tested?
You can only be tested when you are showing symptoms of the virus.
Is there a treatment for a novel coronavirus?
There is no specific treatment for disease caused by a novel coronavirus. However, many of the symptoms can be treated and therefore treatment is based on the patient's clinical condition. Moreover, supportive care for infected persons can be highly effective.
Is there a vaccine for a novel coronavirus?
There is currently no vaccine for a novel coronavirus.
What is Australia doing about novel coronavirus?
The Australian Department of Health is monitoring the situation and is ready to increase their response activities if and when they need to. For more information, visit the Australian Government's website.
What is the status of novel coronavirus in QLD?
For up-to-date information on the status of novel coronavirus visit the Queensland Government novel coronavirus report web page.
Are Queensland hospitals prepared for novel coronavirus?
Queensland public hospitals are well prepared to respond to novel coronavirus. We have responded to health emergencies in the past, and we will do it again.
Where can I find up-to-date travel advice and information, including flight delays or impacts and what is being done at airports to protect Queenslanders?
For the most up-to-date travel information visit www.smarttraveller.gov.au
I'm travelling to China, what is the risk of catching novel coronavirus?
International travelers to mainland China should check the latest Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) travel advice on the Smartraveller website.
Health authorities both in Australia and globally are closely monitoring the virus as the situation develops.